I saw this yesterday, going through the news. I read it and was angry, so I emailed this senator with my thoughts on the subject. My reply is after the article.
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) -- Sen. Sam Brownback, who wants to champion social conservatives in the presidential race, said Tuesday he wants a Senate panel to re-question a judicial nominee who attended a same-sex union ceremony.
Brownback, a Kansas Republican, said he wants Michigan state judge Janet Neff to testify about her role in the 2002 Massachusetts ceremony, her legal views on same-sex unions and her ability to be impartial if called upon to rule on such cases.
Neff's nomination to a federal district court is among a dozen or so now stalled in the Senate, a logjam in part due to Brownback's questions about Neff's attendance at a lesbian commitment ceremony. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved her nomination.
Neff was traveling outside the country and could not immediately be reached for comment, said Chris Bockheim, her judicial assistant.
Earlier this month, Brownback, a prominent opponent of gay marriage who is exploring a presidential run in 2008, said he would lift the hold he put on Neff's nomination if the judge agreed to withdraw from ruling on any court case involving the legality of same sex unions.
In Iowa on Tuesday to meet with GOP activists, Brownback said he wants only a chance to question Neff about her role in the 2002 ceremony. Brownback also wants a recorded vote in the Senate.
"I am not opposed to her getting a vote," Brownback said before a lunch with potential donors and supporters in Davenport. "I would like her to come back through committee so she can testify what took place, factually ... her legal views on same-sex marriage and her ability and willingness to be impartial."
Neff has said she attended the commitment ceremony as a friend of one of the two women, a longtime neighbor.
She insisted in an October 12 letter to Brownback that the ceremony had no legal effect and would not influence her ability to act fairly as a federal judge.
Brownback also has been criticized for his proposal that Neff be required to recuse herself from gay marriage cases. Legal scholars said such a deal would infringe on the separation of the legislative and judicial branches of government.
But Brownback said it was simply a last resort to put her nomination forward.
"If we don't testify on her views on same-sex marriage legally, then the only way I can see fit to do this is to have her recuse herself from a class of cases," Brownback said. "Then others stepped in and said, 'You can't do that.' Well, that's the only option I had at that late hour."
I am sure an aide is reading this first, so please see that the senator gets this. I'm sure he will be getting many more. I know I'm not from Kansas but this is not an issue that just affects Kansas.
I read the story about you questioning the ability of Janet Neff (who was nominated by the democrats) to remain impartial in rulings on same sex marriage. What I'm questioning is if you're really asking about her impartiality or (horror of horrors!) that she is in fact, for it.
What I would also like to ask you is this, would you have just sat and said nothing, if it was a republican, who had attended anti-same sex marriage rally's or any nominee, as long as they were republican?
It would seem to me that you are pushing the republican agenda and trying to keep out anyone who might rule in favor of same sex marriage. Or maybe it's because the number of Republican appointees is dwindling and the republicans are scrambling to keep the Democratic appointees from being appointed?
I think it is ludicrous, self serving and totally obvious why you are questioning Ms Neff's impartiality, when you and the whole republican party seem to have none concerning this issue.
It seems that by doing this, you are making yourself known to all the ignorant and homophobic republicans. Everyone will know who you are when you announce your plans of running for president in 2008. Because really, no one, outside of Kansas has heard of you, with the exception of those in Washington.
What you and the other's may not be aware of, is that, except for a very small number, most people are sick to death of you all and more then likely we will have a president who not only will be democrat, but who, God willing, be a woman or an African American.
Thank you for your time in reading this, if in fact your staff did give it to you. If your staff didn't give it, then shame on them.
Debbie Weatherford-American citizen